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The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Blog
Updated: 3 hours 18 min ago

Secretary’s Column: Census of Agriculture Results Tell Story of Unlimited Potential in Rural America

Fri, 02/21/2014 - 12:11pm
This week, USDA released preliminary data from the 2012 Census of Agriculture that provides a snapshot of a rural America that remains stable in the face of difficult economic times. While the data do not paint a perfect picture, they do tell a story of the unlimited potential and growing opportunity in modern rural America. [...]

Ag Outlook Forum to Offer Sessions on Food Prices and Farm Income

Wed, 02/19/2014 - 5:54pm
Here’s what the Economic Research Service (ERS) has in store for the Agricultural Outlook Forum. We have arranged two afternoon sessions on Thursday, February 20.  One will discuss farm income and the other the outlook for food prices. The food price session, moderated by Michael McConnell of Informa Economics, will provide a perspective on food [...]

It All Starts with a Seed

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 5:49pm
Believe it or not, food doesn’t come from the refrigerator or even the kitchen.  It doesn’t even come from the grocery store or the farmer.  All food—whether meat, grain, vegetable or fruit—owes its existence to seeds.  Seeds are the backbone of human existence, providing us with the fundamental necessities needed for life: food, clothing, medicine, [...]

Secretary’s Column: New Farm Bill is an Investment in Rural America

Fri, 02/14/2014 - 5:32pm
The 2014 Farm Bill, passed by Congress and signed last week by President Obama, strengthens the farm safety net and ensures vital nutrition assistance for hardworking children and families during tough times. It closes loopholes and achieves much-needed reform, saving billions of taxpayer dollars. Those accomplishments are significant and should be commended, particularly at a [...]

USDA Innovation Improves Rice Grading

Wed, 02/12/2014 - 4:13pm
With a little help from USDA, consumer-grade photo scanners could revolutionize rice grading. Consumers much prefer whole kernels of milled rice over broken pieces.  Whole kernels offer more consistent cooking qualities and are in many cases considered more visually appealing.  As a result, the price paid to a rice producer for a load of rough [...]

Happy Valentine’s Day from MyPlate!

Wed, 02/12/2014 - 10:11am
This Valentine’s Day, give something for the heart. Sharing a heart healthy gift is a great way to let the people in your life know you care.  Instead of offering an over-sized piece of cake or a box of sweets, give something that takes care of the heart. For Your Spouse or Partner:  Make a [...]

Strengthening the Modern Farm Safety Net for Specialty Crop Growers

Mon, 02/10/2014 - 3:59pm
As consumer demand for fresh fruit and vegetables increases, so do the production risks for the nation’s farmers as they grow these crops.  To meet this challenge, the Risk Management Agency (RMA) pays close attention to the changing agriculture sector to ensure that crop insurance is made available where feasible. A tremendous amount of work [...]

USDA Invites Schools to Celebrate International School Meals Day on March 6

Mon, 02/10/2014 - 3:59pm
Last year, the first International School Meals Day was held on March 8. It was a great success and brought teachers and students in both the United States and United Kingdom together to connect on one of the most critical issues facing the world today – child nutrition. This year, International School Meals Day will [...]

The President Signs the Farm Bill: “A Jobs Bill, an Innovation Bill, a Research Bill, and a Conservation Bill”

Fri, 02/07/2014 - 9:48pm
Cross posted from the White House blog: Today, President Obama traveled to Michigan State University’s equine performance center in East Lansing to deliver remarks on and sign into law the Agriculture Act of 2014 — also known as the Farm Bill, which Congress passed earlier this week. It’s a bill whose reach extends far beyond [...]

#MyFarmBill – You Were Heard, and Thank You

Fri, 02/07/2014 - 3:46pm
Today, Secretary Vilsack joined the President in Michigan to sign the 2014 Farm Bill, an accomplishment that would not have been possible without your engagement. Last year we began the #MyFarmBill campaign in an effort to share with all Americans the need for a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill to keep up momentum in [...]

USDA Then and Now

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 1:46pm
For over a century and a half, USDA has worked alongside farmers, businesses, and community leaders to ensure USDA programs put forward the most innovative thinking to meet the changing needs of a modern agricultural landscape. Mission areas across USDA, from agricultural research to forest management to nutrition programs and more, also look forward to [...]

‘Primera Jugada’ – Puntos de Alimentos Inocuos para su Fiesta del Super Bowl

Fri, 01/31/2014 - 1:11pm
Para poder ganar el partido, las jugadas tienen que ocurrir sin infracciones. Además, el domingo del Super Bowl es el segundo día más alto del consumo de alimentos en los Estados Unidos. Esto quiere decir que el anfitrión e invitados tienen que tener sus defensas listas para prevenir que la intoxicación alimentaria no marque puntos [...]

El Super Bowl, las Ollas de Cocción Lenta, e Inocuidad Alimentaria: Un Equipo Invencible

Fri, 01/31/2014 - 1:11pm
Por la mayoría del año, mi olla de cocción lenta se queda guardada en un anaquel en mi cocina. Pero, cuando se acerca el día del Super Bowl, la saco y empiezo a cocinar chili con carne, albóndigas u otras comidas calientes de fiesta. Lo que me más gusta de mi olla es que puede [...]

USDA Proposes Professional Standards in National School Lunch, Breakfast Programs; Announces New Progress in Implementing Meal Standards

Thu, 01/30/2014 - 7:06pm
Today, USDA proposed the establishment of minimum national professional standards and training requirements for school nutrition professionals who manage and operate the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. The standards, another key provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA), aim to institute education and certification standards for school nutrition professionals. These [...]

First Down Food Safety Tips for your Super Bowl Party

Thu, 01/30/2014 - 1:04pm
In order to win the game, the first downs have to keep coming without the penalties. Super Bowl Sunday will be a long day of first downs and a long day of eating! It’s the second highest day of food consumption in the U.S., and that means hosts and guests need to have their defense [...]

Healthy Food Choices – How do We Get There? Find out During Livestreaming Panel Discussion Feb. 21

Wed, 01/29/2014 - 7:00pm
Organic, conventional, locally grown and natural – these are all terms consumers hear every day, but do they really understand their meaning? Are consumers making informed purchasing decisions or are they simply making food decisions based on what they hear in popular culture and media? On Friday, February 21, 2014, join a group of farmers [...]

Super Bowl, Slow Cookers, and Food Safety: An Unbeatable Team

Wed, 01/29/2014 - 12:57pm
Most of the year, my slow cooker stays on the shelf in my kitchen, but, when the Super Bowl approaches, I pull it out to make chili, meatballs, or other hot party foods. The thing that I love about a slow cooker is that it can cook food safely and help me save time while [...]

From Small Potatoes to 36,000 Pounds of Carrots: Farm to School Grows

Mon, 01/27/2014 - 12:43pm
In the past few years I’ve seen an increasing number of news stories about successful farm to school programs. As reflected in the first USDA Farm to School Census, farm to school programs are thriving from Alaska to Florida and in every state between. I attended a recent event that demonstrates just how quickly—and by [...]

Secretary’s Column: The Building Blocks for a Healthier America

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 5:32pm
At USDA, we are working hard to ensure that America’s next generation has access to the healthy foods they need to grow, learn, achieve, and eventually to compete and succeed on a global stage. We are focused on feeding a healthier future, but we are also learning that the country as a whole is making [...]

Cooking Up Change Competition Kicks Off in Chicago

Wed, 01/22/2014 - 5:17pm
This November I served as a judge in the 2013-14 kick off Cooking Up Change competition here in Chicago. What is “Cooking Up Change”?  It’s a culinary competition sponsored by the Healthy Schools Campaign that challenges Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students and others across the U.S to create and prepare meals that are healthy and [...]